Definition of banana in English:

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Pronunciation: /bəˈnanə/


1A long curved fruit that grows in clusters and has soft pulpy flesh and yellow skin when ripe.
Example sentences
  • Towers started a fruit farm, growing bananas and avocados.
  • Her eyes widened when she saw the bright orange pumpkins, the ripe yellow bananas, silks with colors that she had never before seen.
  • Farmers grow corn, cassava, peanuts, bananas, and citrus fruits for their own consumption.
2 (also banana plant or banana tree) The tropical and subtropical treelike plant that bears this fruit. It has very large leaves and resembles a palm, but lacks a woody trunk.
  • Genus Musa, family Musaceae: several species, in particular M. sapientum.
Example sentences
  • Here, people cultivate the ensete plant, which looks like a banana tree, but its trunk pulp is prepared and eaten.
  • I heard of one gardener in North Carolina who protected his banana plant in his front yard by surrounding the plant with bags and bags of leaves.
  • Vivienne's smile turned wistful and she turned to snap a picture of sunlight filtering through the leaves of a banana tree.


(bananas) informal Insane or extremely silly: he’s beginning to think I’m bananas
More example sentences
  • The place was bananas, whipping between techno, '90s dance, booty, drum & bass and of course Joe Jackson, while Luv continued to show how versatile he can be with a hard thumping acid jump-off.
  • We did check out the summer jam that happened out there, which is free to the city, so that was bananas.
  • The whole thing is bananas but I didn't attempt to clear my name as that would have meant staying on for several months more.



go bananas

informal Go insane: Roy’s customers think the council has gone bananas
More example sentences
  • Have they all gone bananas at the Banana Warehouse in Piccadilly, York?
  • And back in his old stomping grounds of Graz the politicians went bananas.
  • A Burnley headteacher has gone bananas and accused the Government of letting down needy children by leaving them out of a scheme to provide pupils with free fruit.
1.1Rave; cheer wildly: I have never had a product that people went so bananas over
More example sentences
  • There were terrific audiences - they just went bananas.
  • Sure, we all said, and went bananas destroying documents which had been sitting on our desks for months, but which were probably quite important in hindsight.
  • Even under normal circumstances, badgers are famously good excavators, but at Stonehenge, where the ground is a happy mix of chalk and soft earth, they've gone bananas.
1.2Become extremely angry or excited: she went bananas when I said I was going to leave the job
More example sentences
  • Sections of the farming community are going bananas about quarantine today.
  • I never really got close to executing the plan because the market was pretty much going bananas over the low mortgage rates.
  • The Polynesian grappler immediately went bananas and came after me, but I slipped into the locker room, shut the door, and locked it.

second banana

informal The second most important person in an organization or activity.
Example sentences
  • Gira's originals play second banana, occupying the record's back third.
  • This longtime second banana is finally a leader for the improving Thrashers.
  • They are the stars, and they're going to talk with SHOWBIZ TONIGHT about their breakout roles and what it's like to play second banana to a great ape.

top banana

informal The most important person in an organization or activity.
Example sentences
  • We're going to be looking at the top banana, the big kahuna, the cream of the crop.
  • TJ, the top banana of the organisation, the big cheese if you like, will be hosting an open day.
  • Impressively, if royalty impresses you, it bore the ER royal crest and contained the top banana's first invitation to Buckingham Palace for a press briefing on the impending Golden Jubilee celebrations.


Late 16th century: via Portuguese or Spanish from Mande.

  • Africa is the original home of the banana. The word travelled to English through Portuguese and Spanish from Mande, a language group of West Africa, arriving in the 16th century. In the 20th century slang expressions began to appear. American people began to go bananas with excitement, anger, or frustration in the 1950s. The top banana, ‘the most important person in an organization’, derives from US theatrical slang. It referred to the comedian with top billing in a show, a use first recorded in 1953 from a US newspaper, which also mentions second and third bananas. People have been slipping on a banana skin since the beginning of the 20th century: the comic writer P. G. Wodehouse (1881–1975) referred in 1934 to ‘Treading upon Life's banana skins’. The banana republic, a small state, especially in central America, whose economy is almost entirely dependent on its fruit-exporting trade, was referred to as early as 1904.

Words that rhyme with banana

Africana, Afrikaner, Americana, ana, Botswana, bwana, cabana, caragana, Christiana, Dana, darner, Edwardiana, garner, Georgiana, Ghana, Gloriana, Guiana, gymkhana, Haryana, iguana, Lana, lantana, liana, Lipizzaner, Ljubljana, Mahayana, mana, mañana, marijuana, nirvana, Oriana, pacarana, piranha, prana, Purana, Rosh Hashana, Santayana, Setswana, sultana, Tatiana, Tijuana, Tirana, tramontana, Tswana, varna, Victoriana, zenana

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: ba·nan·a

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